Tuesday, October 18th, 2011 at 10:25 am  |  15 responses

Dan Gilbert Building a Casino Next to Cleveland Cavaliers’ Arena

Even though LeBron James infamously took his talents to South Beach last summer, Cavs owner Dan Gilbert is still reaping massive financial benefits, in large part thanks to their fruitful association. ESPN explains: “On Election Night in 2009, Dan Gilbert threw a late-night party on the practice court inside Quicken Loans Arena. The extravagance in the room called to mind a mob-movie wedding reception, complete with live music, roaming waiters and five-star cuisine served on fine linens. … That night, Ohio voters passed Issue 3, which was a measure to amend the state constitution to allow four casinos to be built. Gilbert, set to own two of them, and a casino company poured $35 million into the project and ran an intense and wide-ranging campaign. With victory secured, they were on the road to a windfall that some estimate could be in the billions. … LeBron James was invited but wasn’t there, though his presence hung in the room. After casino measures had failed four times over the previous 18 years in Ohio, Gilbert had pulled the sword from the stone with an all-encompassing deal that essentially gave him and his partners a monopoly on gambling in the state. He got there with an attractive plan and timing, plus his personal sterling reputation in Ohio. But mostly he got there on the back of the massive popularity of the Cavs at the time, which of course was powered by James. … At the time, James and Gilbert weren’t enemies. They were still on the same team and occasionally James even sought Gilbert’s advice on investments or other business matters. Now, of course, they publically exchange zingers without actually using each other’s name. They’re even more ruthless in private matters, neither passing up a chance to grate the other if possible. As the 2009-10 season opened, James was well aware that July 1, 2010, was going to be a huge moment in his career. For Gilbert, the big event was that referendum, which passed thanks in part to the popularity James brought the Cavs and Gilbert. No matter what James and the Miami Heat accomplish in the future — even if they end up making Gilbert eat his infamous words guaranteeing a Cavs title before there’s a single parade held for the Heat — Gilbert’s business victory has already been assured. James has left the Cavaliers, but his seven seasons with the team played a valuable role in likely making sure Gilbert will become a permanent fixture on the Forbes 400 list — where he currently ranks 293rd at $1.5 billion, higher than at any time when James was an employee. … When it is completely finished it will literally be attached to the Cavs. A walkway will connect the arena and the casino, where fans will be able to park and walk to the game past the gaming tables and slots. The more fans that attend Cavs games, the more people there will be in the casino on game nights. Park in the casino, have dinner there, walk into the arena past the slots and blackjack tables, stop at a bar in the casino for a nightcap on the way out after you walk past the slots and tables again. Or stop by before or after watching the Cleveland Indians, who play next door. You don’t need an MBA to understand the business plan.”

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  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Everyday I be hustling…

  • http://www.slamonline.com UNFROZEN CAVEMAN LAWYER


  • http://slamonline.com Allenp

    Didn’t the NBA refuse to move to Las Vegas because of concerns about the influence of gambling and stuff on players and the game?
    It’s a little strange to have an owner with a casino right next to the stadium. Then again, the Maloofs have owned casinos for years, so there is a precedent.

  • http://cnbc.com JTaylor21

    There’s a difference between what the owners are allowed to do and what the players are allowed to do by the NBA. Stern is the owner’s puppet so of course they can do what ever they want.

  • http://slamonline.com YKnoT

    I thought the owners were his puppets since he said I’m bringing my owners. Lol. The Maloofs do own casinos, but they aren’t attached to the arena the Kings play in, that’s a whole different kind of evil.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    Vegas casinos are the only casinos that are licensed to have sports books. That’s why having a team there would be a problem. I don’t think it’s the gambling that the NBA is worried about, it’s the gambling on sports…..most notably, their sport.

  • http://www.chicagonow.com/blogs/chicago-bulls-talk/2011 Diesel

    The NFL has been benefitting from gambling on their sport for years, so I don’t see why the NBA couldn’t take people’s mindless love for giving their money to casinos and parlay that into some increased attendance.

  • riggs

    This time the house ALWAYS loses.

  • Heals

    I respect his business acumen, but hate him as a person. The guy cashed in on LeBron (and still is), but is now spearheading the group of owners who want to miss the season (funny how I don’t see that happening if LBJ reupped). He makes fans reup (a common practice but still) season tickets mid-year even though LBJ is 6 months away from deciding whether to stay or go. And now a casino in recession sacked Cle. If I’m wrong call me out, but there is no way gambling with their income is going to help struggling Clevelanders and the city as whole regroup. Disgusting to see a guy complaining about revenue sharing (albeit unrelated businesses now, but his goal is to merge the casino with the arena) building a caisno in the same center. American greed, egotism and absurdity personified = Dan Gilbert…

  • Heals

    @Diesel, NFL and NBA gambling are totally different mechanisms in American culture. Most bookies (sp?) love people that bet on pro hoops because it’s such a crap shoot for betters. Incredibly difficult to make money that way. Throw in that there are several games every night and hoops just isn’t as easy to bet on with late f/t’s, foul trouble, etc. Football you get what 16 games (90% of which happen on 1 day), easier over/unders, simplified prop bets, 1 game playoffs, etc. That’s why there is so much more national coverage, familiarity, comfort and money in football betting as opposed to hoops…

  • http://idunkonthem.blogspot.com albie1kenobi

    didn’t lebron use to have a casino in his house?

  • golakeshow

    Dan gilbert is a fu@king asshole

  • http://theurbangriot.com The Nupe

    @Heals, This is great for Cleveland, Clevelanders, and the State of Ohio in general. There are lots of people who drive up to Detroit, NY or West Virgina from Northeast Ohio to gamble. Having Casinos in Cleveland will likely result in more people spending more money in Ohio. (Like Casinos in SW ohio will bring more money there and ‘prevent’ people from goint to Indiana. This is very similar to how Detroits economy has been positively impacted when the Casinos opened there several years ago and reduced the number of people that would drive across the bridge to Windsor to gamble. Also with the Casinos in Cleveland, as the article states, more people (including the out-of-towners who travel to cleveland for Cavs, Indians or Browns games will very likely spend more money in the city. Helping the overall economy of the area/state. Like the casions in Vegas, Detroit, Riverboat Casinos when introduced in Mississippi or Kansas City etc, there will always be concerns about the poor and gambling addicted being taken advantage of – but that can and has been managed succesfully. More jobs = more spending, more payroll tax, etc. I see as a HUGE positive for the city and area.

  • http://theurbangriot.com The Nupe

    This is a good example of how many of the owners can likely ‘proove’ they lose money on the actual team, but that doesn’t actually mean they don’t more than make up for it with ‘non-basketball realted income’ that they recieve because they own the team.

  • Heals

    Thanks for droppin in Nupe, always appreciate the outside(to me)/inside prespective. My only concern would be that the house does always come out on top, so if other states keep using this model to generate local revenue how much will personal incomes take a hit nationally. But still this was about Cleveland and you brought it…